AUSTIN (KXAN) — It is that time of year again: butterflies are migrating through Central Texas.
On Monday, Andrea DeLong Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, interviewed with KXAN Chief Meteorologist David Yeomans to provide insight as the monarchs continue making their way through this month.
Read a full transcription of the discussion below or watch the interview in the video player above.
YEOMANS: It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. Great to have you on. So first, let’s talk about the basics. How long can we expect to see the monarchs flying through our area?
AMAYA: Well, they’ve been actually coming through our area a little bit over the last month or so. We should generally see them start to peak in in October, and then start to taper off in November. Because really, most of them are trying to get back to their roosting grounds in Mexico by the early part of November. And the drought has affected so many of us in so many different ways over the past several months.
YEOMANS: And the drought has affected so many of us in so many different ways over the past several months. How’s the weather affecting their migration this fall?
AMAYA: Yeah, it’s kind of a drag. You know, there’s less milkweeds for them and fewer nectar plants for them to fuel up on. So, it’s definitely taking a hit on the monarch population having a drought. So yeah, we’re expecting to see lower numbers again this year.
YEOMANS: That’s too bad. There are some plants that folks can actually put in their gardens, though, to try to increase your chances of seeing some of these. Tell us about those. And, actually, speaking of milkweed, contrary to popular belief, you guys are telling us that’s not great for them?
AMAYA: Well, milkweeds are certainly good, it’s hard to find native milkweeds and some of the non native milkweeds have other problems with them. And really what the monarchs want this time of year as they’re migrating south and heading towards Mexico is fuel for that migration. You know, that’s a pretty hefty job that they’re taking. And so as much nectar sources as we can provide them is going to be ideal. So things like white mistflowers, shrubby boneset, the Gregg’s mistflower. Frost weed is a common plant that people don’t put in our gardens, but it’s a wonderful nectar plant, a lot of the sunflowers those are all going to be really important sources of food for the migrating monarchs as they’re coming through.
YEOMANS: And that’ll help fuel them up for the trip, as you mentioned. Now, lastly, the Wildflower Center native plant sale is coming up. Tell us about this and why folks should consider planting natives at their house.
AMAYA: Yeah, we’ll be having ours next weekend. Starting Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the sale is from nine to one each of those days. It’s open to the public. And we are selling all different species of native plants that are native to the state of Texas with a focus on Central Texas. And these are the plants that those insects and other wildlife are adapted to using as food sources, or caterpillar food or for other species of caterpillars. Fall is a great time to plant, because that gives the plants enough time to get established over the winter and get as tough and establishes possible before the heat of the summer next year. That’s really the hardest time for our plants to get through. So now is a great time to be planting your native plants.
YEOMANS: And I’ll tell you, you know I don’t have much of a green thumb myself, but we have replaced all of our plants at the house with natives and those are some of the only things that can survive the extraordinary heat this summer and the freezes that are sure to come this winter. Andre Delano Maya with the wildflower center, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you, take care.